“Daddy, what happens when you die?”
“Well, Son, let me explain it to you this way.”
Back in the Bible days, Jesus told a story about a very rich man and very poor man named Lazarus (Luke 16). The Rich Man wore fine purple clothing, lived in an expensive mansion, and played with many fun toys. The poor beggar, on the other hand, he owned nothing and had no food to eat or home to live in. Lazarus became very sick and all covered in painful sores.
One day, sick old Lazarus laid outside of the Rich Man’s mansion, hoping the wealthy man would share just a few small crumbs with him so that he might live. Sadly, the Rich Man was very stingy and refused, and so, the poor beggar died.
After he died, Lazarus’ spirit was carried by God’s angels to a wonderful land called Paradise, where his great-great-great-great grandfather Abraham was waiting. The Rich Man, after a time, also died and was buried, but his soul traveled to a terrible land called Torments.
Both Paradise and Torments lie on different sides of a place called Hades. Once in Torments, the Rich Man lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off, and Lazarus standing with him. The Rich Man cried out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” But Abraham replied, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there’s a great bottomless pit which none can cross.”
Not too long after telling this story, Jesus sacrificed His own life on the cross. Because He loves us so much, Jesus took the punishment for our sins. He became our Savior, and His shed blood finally provided the one and only way people’s evil thoughts and deeds could be forgiven.
After Jesus died, and then beat death by rising from the dead, our Savior took all those good and faithful people in Paradise out of Hades and right up to Heaven, leaving all the evil people still behind in that prison called Torments.
And to this day, whenever a person dies who has refused Jesus’ salvation, their spirits travel to that awful place called Torments, awaiting their court date and final sentence for their crimes.
But, for those who are forgiven for their sins because they’ve put their faith and trust in Jesus as their Savior, when they die and are raptured, their spirits don’t go to Hades anymore, but are now immediately ushered into Jesus’ presence by His angels in Heaven. They don’t fall asleep, or become ghosts, no, they are given real and wondrously new glorified bodies. Our loves ones in Heaven will be waiting to welcome us, and will recognize us when we get there, and there will be great joy and celebration and singing.
Jesus will throw a wonderful party called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and He will hand out great rewards to His people for all the good deeds they had done in His name when they had been living on the earth.
Some years later, the people in Heaven will be all prepared to follow King Jesus when He’s ready to return to the earth. Satan made a terrible mess of the earth and hurt many people, so Jesus is going to throw that Devil into the bottomless pit. King Jesus will then set up His kingdom and for a thousand glorious years His children will rule and reign with Him. What a fabulous time of peace, righteousness and justice!
After those thousand years are over, God will then sit upon His great white throne and hold one final judgment. He will gather all the evil people who were sent to Torments, judge them for their rebellion against Him and other terrible crimes, and then throw the whole evil lot of them, along with Satan and Hades itself, into a burning lake of fire.
The faithful citizens of Heaven will then move into a wondrous city called the New Jerusalem which will stand mightily on a brand New Earth. There we will walk and talk and have fellowship with our Heavenly Father who loves us so very much. And do you know what? This happy story goes on and on forever and ever.
“And that, Son, is what happens after we die.”